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Are Unions Helpful In Our Current Economy?

1456 words - 6 pages

Labor unions have helped shape the American way of life. However there are those that are for unions because of there positive effects and vice versa. Both of these categories have valid points. The union members gain many benefits that with out the formation of labor unions would not be easily accessible. Business owners have felt more of a negative result from unionization. Then who is right, should unions be stopped or do companies suck it up, is there a way for a happy ending between the two.
The labor movement in the 1930s started the formation of unions to benefit the mistreated working population of the great depression. These labor unions had given many workers an opportunity that they had never had before that was to finally choose the work conditions that they would work in. These new union members had a multitude of tools in which they could achieve their desired results. Hirsch states “At worksites where a majority of employees have voted for representation, a union serves as workers’ exclusive bargaining agent and provides a collective voice in dealings with employers” (Hirsch). One such tool was collective bargaining, essentially a one on one between the employer and the representation of the union members in order to make changes to wage rates and work conditions. Usually ending in an agreement where union members were ultimately the benefactors. In a case in which there was a stalemate about the terms the union would most likely go on strike until they had their way and an agreement could be had. This essentially is one of the unions’ strongest tools. That would make any company tremble at the thought of losing money due to having production cease. In other instances they were able to help just themselves but nonunion laborers as well. This benefit was done by the creation of labor codes that forced all working environments to have a standardized suitable working condition.
The main improvements were found to relate to health and safety, and to the provision of legal employment entitlements such as the minimum (not living) wage, working hours and deductions for employment benefit such as health insurance and pensions. (Barrientos, Smith).
This produced an overall positive outcome that made even nonunionized companies have a standard for safety. Another way unions helped not only their members but other workers was by helping set a nonunion wages. This was done by setting the wage for the union workers, which was at a higher rate then normal. Hirsch also states that “The empirical literature suggests the net effect of unions on nonunion wages is small, but positive” (Hirsch). In order to diminish the dysfunction that would occur by having a large wage gap between the unions and nonunion workers, employers had to close the gap. In turn this gave a boost in wages to non union workers. This makes it hard to see why unions have not been considered as positive organizations.
To every positive there is a negative; in this case it is...

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